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Spark of Insanity
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Jeff Dunham welcomes "Achmed the Dead Terrorist," "Melvin the Superhero," and long-time favorites "Peanut," "Walter" and Jose Jalapeno...on a STEEK! in an entirely original show for everyone!
Taped at the historic Warner Theater in Washington D.C., this sold out concert is twice the length of the Comedy Central broadcast, with exclusive extras, featuring "The Making of Melvin," "What Would You Put on a Stick?" and a surprise political announcement from Walter!
Spark of Insanity (Blu-ray) is the ultimate event special from one of comedy's most inventive minds.
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Jeff Dunham: Spark of Insanity
If you want to laugh until your face hurts and you can barely breathe, buy this! It's the perfect cure for feeling over-stressed. I'm now a 100% "Jef-fah-fah Dun Ham...dot com!" fan for life!!
You can watch this material on Comedy Central if you wait for it to come around and then put up with commercial interruptions. I like having it in my collection so I can watch anytime. However, I find that my two Jeff Dunham videos aren't always in my collection because they are my most frequently loaned-out DVDs. Most people who borrow this DVD end up buying their own copy so they can show it to their friends too.
In summary, you can't lose with this DVD. You'll enjoy watching it over and over, and everyone will love it.
I don't like some of the one star reviews on here because they're very negative and pretentious. To call Jeff Dunham's comedy low brow is not quite appropriate, unless you're his competition or a seasoned, successful observational comedian. To imply that people who like Jeff Dunham don't have brains is solely attempting to start an online flame war. Don't use the one star reviews on Amazon as a reference point for judging Dunham's comedy.
Dunham uses the puppets and the characteristics of the puppets in a non-traditional form of observational comedy, in a world where everyone else is trying to be Dane Cook (who is trying to be Mitch Hedberg), or to reference an earlier observational comedian, Jerry Seinfeld. With Peanut (and sometimes Walter), Dunham primarily makes fun of himself and the other puppets. It's almost a form of insult comedy.
Some people have an open mind about comedy, and can understand and appreciate someone like George Carlin or Lenny Bruce as well as Jeff Dunham and Larry the Cable Guy. Also, as an aside, Larry the Cable Guy is much more easy to appreciate once you realize he is portraying a dumb redneck stereotype (more on stereotypes below). Personally, I like Monty Python's Flying Circus and other sketch comedy shows, like Upright Citizens Brigade, in lieu stand-up comedy. That's a matter of personal taste and not what's generally funny to the masses. Dunham is generally funny to the masses, unless the masses are so pretentious and self-important that they can't accept simple humor...in which case, they aren't the masses.
"Spark of Insanity" starts with a monologue about a Prius similar to the lotion monologue from "Arguing with Myself." The Prius, and it being a gay car, is a theme throughout the show, just like the lotion was in the previous show. Contrary to what some people say, the monologue is funny, but the humor is subtle and slow. It's a setup for a theme, just like in all of his performances. A successful comedian will reference early established themes throughout a stand-up act because the audience, like any large group of readers or listeners, relies on primacy (the things heard first) and recency (the things heard just now). If you connect the two, you can hold attention longer and it helps everything flow. It's just like a theme in a novel.
Dunham plays on homosexuality and some racial stereotypes. I think that the people who take offense at this only do so because Jeff Dunham is a white comedian. It's not Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, or Carlos Mencia utilizing the racial stereotypes, so it must not be alright, right?
Dunham takes relatively gentle jabs at stereotypes when compared to these other comedians. Also, Dunham has white stereotypes (Bubba Jay as a redneck) to balance other racial stereotypes, as well as age stereotypes (Walter as a curmudgeon). When Dunham plays on homosexuality, it's only outing himself as a possible homosexual regarding Prius ownership, or the chemical analysis machine sometimes mistaking lotion for plastic explosives after a swab is taken from Peanut's butt in the Santa Anna airport. It's alright to employ stereotypes, as long as you're making fun of everyone equally...at least, that's what Carlos Mencia says.
To be overly sensitive to racial stereotypes in comedy is to not be open minded about what can be funny. Stereotypes exist because people have demonstrated them and continue to do so. Some aspects of every stereotype are comedic. To exploit those stereotypes is alright, as long as you employ some portion of self deprecation along with them and don't keep targeting one particular group negatively or express intense dislike or hatred of one group. To be offended or feel uncomfortable when stereotypes are referenced probably means you haven't reached a level of understanding minority groups as equals instead of groups that should be treated specially or differently.
I think Dunham balances stereotypes very well, and overall, he is not offensive. He is an equal opportunity mocker, just like every comedian should be. Every group of people has quirks, and to exploit those gently, taking light jabs at multiple groups, is to appeal to the largest demographic possible.
All of this being said, I give "Spark of Insanity" four stars because it is very funny, but it's not perfectly aligned with my personal taste. I applaud the recent efforts that the monologues show towards building his solo stand-up capabilities and demonstrating that he has room for growth as a comedian (even after almost 20 years) by establishing themes in his performances. It's somewhat new ground for him, and to view it negatively is a waste of time. It might be trite for another, solo stand-up comedian to do it, but it's a welcome change in lieu of starting an act with a puppet on his hand or at the ready.
If you remotely like Jeff Dunham and want to see his comedy more than once, I would recommend buying this product. It's cheap and effective.